Tag Archive | "COVID-19"

OSHA

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Health & Safety Watch: OSHA Launches National Emphasis Program

Posted on 16 March 2021 by cradmin

 In response to President Biden’s executive order on protecting worker health and safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.

NEP inspections will enhance the agency’s previous coronavirus enforcement efforts, and will include some follow-up inspections of worksites inspected in 2020. The program’s focused strategy ensures abatement and includes monitoring the effectiveness of OSHA’s enforcement and guidance efforts. The program will remain in effect for up to one year from its issuance date, though OSHA has the flexibility to amend or cancel the program as the pandemic subsides.

OSHA state plans have adopted varying requirements to protect employees from coronavirus, and OSHA knows many of them have implemented enforcement programs similar to this NEP. While it does not require it, OSHA strongly encourages the rest to adopt this NEP. State plans must notify federal OSHA of their intention to adopt the NEP within 60 days after its issuance.

In a related action, OSHA has also updated its Interim Enforcement Response Plan to prioritize the use of on-site workplace inspections where practical, or a combination of on-site and remote methods. OSHA will only use remote-only inspections if the agency determines that on-site inspections cannot be performed safely. On March 18, 2021, OSHA will rescind the May 26, 2020, memorandum on this topic and this new guidance will go into and remain in effect until further notice.

OSHA will ensure that its Compliance Safety and Health Officers have every protection necessary for onsite inspections. When conducting on-site inspections, OSHA will evaluate all risk and utilize appropriate protective measures, including appropriate respiratory protection and other necessary personal protective equipment.

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LEED Safety First Pilot Credits Feb. blog

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New LEED Safety First Pilot Credits to Support Success

Posted on 22 February 2021 by cradmin

To keep pace with the evolving health challenges around the world, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) designed several LEED Safety First pilot credits, which address COVID-19. Four new Education @USGBC courses offer a combination of videos, podcasts and resources to support success with implementing these credits.

The pilot credits outline sustainable best practices related to cleaning and disinfecting, workplace reoccupancy, HVAC and plumbing operations, and may be used by LEED projects that are certified or are undergoing certification.

Learn more through these education resources:

  1. Safety First: Managing Indoor Air Quality During COVID-19 Credit
    The objective of this credit is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the air in a building and to define best practices. The credit builds on the current standards for indoor air quality and LEED credits.

The resources available for this credit include a video presentation by Nicole Isle, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Strategist, Glumac, which was recorded during the USGBC Healthy Economy Forum on Aug. 4, 2020.

  1. Safety First: Re-enter Your Workspace Credit
    The goal of this credit is to establish conditions and best practices for reentry assessment, as well as planning and evaluation of progress once a space is occupied.

The resources available for this credit include video clips from a July 2020 LEED v4.1 Ask the Experts webinar, where insights are shared by Corey Enck, Vice President, LEED Technical Development, USGBC, and Ken Filarski, Founder and Principal, FILARSKI/ ARCHITECTURE + PLANNING + RESEARCH; a video clip from the USGBC Healthy Economy Forum, and the AIA Re-occupancy Assessment Tool.

  1. Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space Credit
    With this credit, the aim is to identify standards and best practices for cleaning that encourage a healthy indoor setting and worker safety. While vaccines and medical therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 are still in progress, there are already successful disinfectant products and processes.

The resources available for this credit include video clips from a July 2020 Ask the Experts webinar, where insights are shared by Larissa Oaks, Indoor Environmental Quality Specialist, USGBC, and Steve Ashkin, Founder and President, The Ashkin Group LLC, as well as a video presentation from the USGBC Healthy Economy Forum and podcasts interviews with Ashkin discussing the pilot credit further.

  1. Safety First: Building Water System Recommissioning Credit
    The principal objective of this credit is to define standards and best practices for cleaning that foster a healthy indoor environment and worker safety and to help building teams reduce the risk of occupant exposure to impaired water quality.

The resources available for this credit include a video presentation from the USGBC Healthy Economy Forum and a podcast interview with Daryn Cline, Director, Environmental Technologies at EVAPCO.

All four pilot credits listed in this article are available for LEED 2009, LEED v4 and LEED v4.1 and can be found here.

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Health & Safety Feb. 21

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Health & Safety: OSHA Issues Stronger Coronavirus Workplace Guidance

Posted on 01 February 2021 by cradmin

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus prevention program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

Implementing a coronavirus prevention program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.

OSHA will update this new guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of existing mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.

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MANSTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: A traffic sign directs people towards the temporary testing centre on the site at Manston Airport on August 04, 2020 in Manston, England. A group of Britain's leading virus experts have written to the government, expressing their frustration at the mistakes being made in the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, signed by nearly 70 clinical virologists, they state that “Our skills have been underused and underrepresented (albeit to differing extents within the devolved nations of the UK), resulting in lost opportunities to establish a coordinated robust and durable testing framework for Sars-CoV-2.” (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Study Concludes Construction Industry Has Among Highest COVID-19 Positivity Rates

Posted on 22 December 2020 by cradmin

The results of a recent study administered by testing firm Curative in Los Angeles between August and October, were revealed in an article on Construction Dive. The study tracked the results of more than 730,000 COVID-19 tests and compared positive test results with an occupational questionnaire. Although the study has not been certified by peer review, it certainly presents some alarming correlations.

The author of the article quotes Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health, co-author of the study and Curative’s medical director stating, “In the construction industry, people may still be coming to work if they have symptoms because some have no paid sick leave. The findings are concerning, and warrant a better understanding of the measures put in place to control infection.”

According to the study, construction workers had a positivity rate of 5.7 percent for individuals who were asymptomatic, and 10.1 percent for those with symptoms. When compared to other industries, the positivity rate of construction workers was significantly higher. The next highest industry for asymptomatic individuals, food services, had a rate of just 3.8 percent. Only correctional workers had a higher positivity rate for symptomatic cases; 12.5 percent compared to 10.1 percent of construction workers.

Source: Curative Get the data

The Construction Dive article states that  public health departments in Washington state, Michigan and Nashville, Tenn., have found construction to be among the top three occupational settings where outbreaks occurred. Additionally, a CDC study in Utah found construction to have the second highest number of cases among all industries studied and a University of Texas study concluded that construction workers were five times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus than workers in all other industries.

“Given the rising coronavirus case counts across the country, and its particularly high rates among the demographic groups that make up much of the industry’s workforce, we are definitely seeing more workers testing positive,” said Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs at the Associated General Contractors of America. “The distinction is that the virus is not spreading occupationally — in other words, workers are not getting the virus from their jobsites — but instead is being transmitted via local communities and then workers are showing up, asymptomatic, and testing positive.”

With many of the cases being asymptomatic, companies are finding it difficult to get workers to not bring the virus to the jobsite.

To prevent the spread of the virus, more routine testing at jobsites to identify infected individuals may be an effective solution.

You may also be interested in this article: Health & Safety Watch: Workplace Safety and the Flu

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Health & Safety - Flu safety 11-20

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Health & Safety Watch: Workplace Safety and the Flu

Posted on 02 November 2020 by cradmin3

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has worked with vaccine manufacturers to have extra flu vaccine available this flu season. Manufacturers have already begun distributing flu vaccines and will continue to do so throughout the season. And while viruses can live all year round, flu activity tends to rise in October and then peak between December and February. CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination in September or October, but getting vaccinated anytime during the flu season can help protect you. 

One in 10 people in the United States will get the flu in a given season, according to estimates from the CDC. With COVID-19 a factor this year, it’s even more important to take precautions to prevent the flu from spreading.

Here are 10 ways to keep workers safe:

  1. Recommend all workers get vaccinated. Vaccination is the most important way to prevent the spread of the flu. It takes about two weeks for flu antibodies to develop, so the time to get a shot is before peak flu season.
  2. Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends (100 degrees Fahrenheit or lower) without the use of medication. Not everyone who has the flu will have a fever. Other symptoms can include a runny nose, body aches, headache, fatigue, diarrhea or vomiting.
  3. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available. When using soap and water, rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds, rinse with water, and dry completely. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub until you can wash your hands.
  4. Continue practicing social distancing. Staying at least 6 feet apart from co-workers, whenever possible, can help prevent the spread of the flu.
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper sleeve. Tissues should go into a “no-touch” wastebasket and wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Avoid touching your face.
  6. Keep frequently touched surfaces clean. Commonly used surfaces such as counters, door handles, phones, computer keyboards and touchpads should be cleaned after each use.
  7. Limit shared equipment or clean equipment before others use it. Avoid using a co-worker’s phone, desk, office, computer or other equipment unless they are cleaned with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
  8. Training is knowledge. Make sure all workers understand how to stay healthy at work during flu season, including new and temporary workers.
  9. Wear a face covering. These can help limit the flu’s spread.
  10. Consider alternate work arrangements. If feasible, offer options such as telework or staggered shifts for workers considered high risk for seasonal flu (such as older workers, pregnant women, and those with asthma).

Learn more about workplace safety and the flu on OSHA’s website. You can find additional resources and learn more about OSHA’s response to the coronavirus at osha.gov/coronavirus.

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PPP

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Application Deadline for Paycheck Protection Program Extended

Posted on 06 July 2020 by cradmin3

Saturday July 4 the legislation was signed that extends the deadline for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to August 8, 2020.

Enacted in the weeks following the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the PPP allows businesses to get direct government subsidies for payroll, rent and other costs. The subsidies come as federal loans, but those loans can be forgiven if businesses use at least 60 percent of the funds for payroll.

The program had officially ended at midnight on June 30 with around $129 billion in funds remaining, out of the $660 billion that had been allocated. More than 4.8 million small business owners have utilized the program, which was designed as a bridge for companies to maintain their payrolls through the worst of the pandemic.

You may also be interested in this article: OSHA Issues Guidance As Non-Essential Businesses Reopen & Employees Return to Work

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OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work

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OSHA Issues Guidance As Non-Essential Businesses Reopen & Employees Return to Work

Posted on 22 June 2020 by cradmin3

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance to assist employers reopening non-essential businesses and their employees returning to work during the evolving coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance supplements the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ previously developed Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The guidelines provide general principles for updating restrictions originally put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. During each phase of the reopening process, employers should continue to focus on strategies for basic hygiene, social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities and employee training.

Non-essential businesses should reopen as state and local governments lift stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders and follow public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal requirements or guidelines. Employers should continue to consider ways to use workplace flexibilities, such as remote work and alternative business operations, to provide goods and services to customers.

OSHA recommends that employers continually monitor federal, state, and local government guidelines for updated information about ongoing community transmission and mitigation measures, as well as for evolving guidance on disinfection and other best practices for worker protection.

Visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage frequently for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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IWF Canceled

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IWF 2020 Cancels Atlanta Show

Posted on 12 June 2020 by cradmin3

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives and enterprises, IWF 2020 and the global woodworking industry it serves are not immune to such intrusion. That inescapable reality lies at the heart of the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event.

This unavoidable action comes only after long, intense and exhaustive study and consideration by the IWF show management team working in constant collaboration with the IWF 2020 Management Committee, whose members represent the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America and the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association.

The decision to cancel North America’s oldest and largest woodworking event could not and did not come easily. At the same time, the conditions and circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic–including accompanying travel restrictions and federal, state and local governmental regulations–have made it impossible to stage IWF 2020 without endangering the health and safety of all exhibitors, attendees and the Atlanta community at large.

From the very outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, IWF has monitored and carefully considered its progress as a factor in show planning. It is now clear that hosting the show with tens of thousands of attendees in an indoor space such as the Georgia World Congress Center cannot occur without amplifying the transmission of COVID-19. That risk is absolutely unacceptable.

While no one can be happy with this outcome, we all can look toward the promise of a new, brighter future and all the opportunities IWF 2022 will bring. As we anticipate that future, always know that IWF will continue to move on course in this mission: For the entire woodworking community and across the industry landscape, IWF is where the woodworking business does business. That mission will never change.

For Registered Attendees of IWF 2020 Only: You will hear from IWF on June 19 with full details regarding your IWF 2020 registration fee refunds and hotel room cancellations.

For Contracted Exhibitors of IWF 2020 Only: As we begin laying the groundwork for IWF 2022 now, you’ll hear from us on June 26 with full details regarding resolution of your IWF 2020 commitments.

You may also be interested in this article: USGBC Develops Pilot Credit for COVID-19 Green Cleaning

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Video: How to Build Company Culture In Your Fab Shop During COVID-19

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Video: How to Build Company Culture In Your Fab Shop During COVID-19

Posted on 28 May 2020 by cradmin3

In this video from Moraware, industry veteran Geoffrey Gran, the owner of The Countertop Factory Midwest, shares how he’s been able to build and maintain great company culture during the coronavirus pandemic. 

You may also be interested in this article: OSHA Adopts Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

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OSHA_COVID.5ea08746cead2

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OSHA Adopts Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

Posted on 27 May 2020 by cradmin3

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as economies reopen in states throughout the country.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees and adapt to new ways of doing business.

Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.

First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. The new enforcement guidance reflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread. The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available. OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections, and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.

Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:

Under the new policy issued today, OSHA will enforce the recordkeeping requirements of 29 CFR 1904 for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers. Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a coronavirus illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace. OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related.

Recording a coronavirus illness does not mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard. Following existing regulations, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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